Along The Clay Road
Trip Start Jul 11, 2009
16Trip End Jul 25, 2009
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Today we are heading off to Quesnel Memorial, Bourlon Wood and the Canal du Nord with possible stops at Caix Military and German cemeteries, Warvillers and Mehanricourt Cememtery, the resting place of P/P Andrew Mynarski, VC, but our tour guide John Goheen seems open to possibilities and manages to start the day by getting us very close to the final resting place of William Norton whose name is on the cenotaph at H H Knoll Park in Port Colborne
It was an overcast day with a warm drizzly rain falling gently as our coach driver bravely maneuvered down a narrow, over grown clay road to within 1 or 2 kms of the obscure cemetery. This was as far as the bus could go. We could not see it but were told that up the road a ways was our objective... would we like to run up the road quickly while others waited for us on the bus? Without hesitation, my husband and I shouted "yes" and within seconds, fellow pilgrims were scrambling up and following us as we ran the clay road. It was strangely similar to the clay roads that cut through corn and soya bean fields surrounding Port Colborne and I was back home for a minute thinking of Snider Road which runs along my farm. The slippery, gummy clay under foot and the soft warm rain caressing my face felt like home and I felt very close to William Norton as I ran to "meet" him. I hoped that this peaceful setting was a comfort to his soul as I imagined the horror of his last days alive
The sun made a valiant attempt to shine and soon its light began to cheer. After a brief visit so as not to keep the others waiting we bid William Norton "adieu" and headed back down the road to the bus. As we rounded the bend and the bus came into view, we could see a small group of fellow pilgrims milling around a small Canada flag planted oddly but deliberately in the middle of the road. As I approached the group I sensed a buzz in the air. They had found a mortar shell slightly exposed and weather beaten, a relic of the battle that took William Norton's life. There was a strange excitement amongst the pilgrims and they were not in a hurry to board the bus. They were milling around looking for more evidence. Shrapnel balls, shards of medal, blasted pieces of rock were everywhere. We were face to face with history.